Shirley Temple Black, Star and Stateswoman, Dies at 85

Shirley Temple, the original child star, has died. Known for portraying characters with a cheery, can-do attitude, the actress, singer and dancer was “America’s Princess” and was credited for raising the public’s morale during times of economic hardship.

Ms. Temple "peacefully passed away" at her Woodside, California home from natural causes at 10:57 p.m. Monday, surrounded by family and caregivers, said publicist Cheryl J. Kagan in a statement. She was 85.

During the Depression, from 1935 - 1938, she was the top box office-draw across the nation — moviegoers fell in love with the optimistic girl with the iconic curly hair and dimples. According to the L.A. Times, “she saved what became 20th Century Fox studios from bankruptcy” and commanded an unheard of $50,000 per picture.

She especially loved the four films she made with Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, her master dance teacher and long-time friend, she said. In “The Little Colonel,” 7-year-old Shirley tap dances up and down the staircase, keeping up with the dancer 50 years her senior. With that dance, they became America’s first on-screen interracial dance couple.

She made more than 40 movies by the time she was 12 years old. Although she had a few movie roles into her teen years (including 1947’s “The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer” with Cary Grant,) Shirley Temple permanently retired from the screen in 1949 at the age of 21.

For her life’s second act, Ms. Temple-Black chose a life in public service. In 1969, President Nixon appointed her to the United States delegation to the United Nations General Assembly, where she championed the rights of the elderly. From 1974 to 1976, Temple was the U.S. ambassador to Ghana and U.S. ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1989 to 1992. She also served as White House chief of protocol for President Ford.

She later received two lifetime achievement awards for her performing career. We at Caregiverlist join the nation in mourning the passing of a great woman.

Cartoonist Scott Adams: I Hope My Father Dies Soon

Dilbert cartoon followers know the humor the cartoon strip writer Scott Adams uses to entertain us with the happenings of daily office life.  The cartoon can always spark a life for those of us who show up for work at an office each day.  Now Mr. Adams has opened up to share the challenges of caring for an aging parent with his blog post titled:  "I Hope My Father Dies Soon".  

Mr. Adam's father, age 86, is bed-ridden and as Mr. Adams says, if his father were a cat, he would have been put to sleep long ago and nobody would have ever looked back.  It would have been the right answer for someone who has lost 98% of their mind and has lost their physical capabilities.  Instead, he pays $8,000 a month to stay in a state of perpetual suffering.  Mr Adams has a way with words and I encourage you to read his blog post on why he hopes his father will die soon.  

Senior care services can easily cost $8,000 a month for round-the-clock care.  And right now, Medicare and Medicaid really provide all or nothing senior care services when it comes to long-term care.  Medicaid, a service provided in conjunction with state and federal funds, provides ongoing nursing home care until someone dies but unfortunately that care usually must be provided only in a nursing home.  And a senior must qualify for this level of total care.  

Medicare does NOT pay for long-term care.  This means most of us will be in the same situation as the Dilbert cartoonist's father - we will have to privately pay for the senior care services and if we have not invested in long-term care insurance, these costs could become as high as $8,000 per month and burn through our life-savings.

The hope is that most seniors will only need part-time senior care to maintain their daily activities of living.  But insurance analysts suggest that everyone plan for 2 years of senior care services.

As the nation's baby boomer population continues to live longer and will increase by as much as 70% in the coming decade, the ethical issues around keeping seniors alive when there is no longer any quality of life will become one of the areas of concern for everyone.  Especially as we must tackle how to pay for senior care for both those who can privately pay and through our tax dollars for those who cannot privately pay for senior care and are on Medicaid care.

Mr. Adams shares that he feels doctor-assisted suicide should be an option, as none of us should be forced to die a long, slow painful death when it has already been confirmed we are at the end of our road.

How much does senior care cost?:

Nursing home care gives the best view into the real costs of full nursing care for seniors.  Here are some of the costs of nursing homes:

  • Alden Estates of Barrington in Barrington, Illinois costs $263 to $362 per day for nursing home care
  • Brighton Place in Spring Valley, California costs $165 per day for nursing home care
  • Mount Vernon Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Alexandria, Virginia costs $236 to $270 per day for nursing home care

Learn about nursing home care costs in the Caregiverlist Nursing Home Directory and share with us your comments on end-of-life care.








End-of-Life Care Ethics: NYC Hospital Made Home for Heiress for Twenty Years

Posted By: Julie Northcutt

End-of-Life care sparks opinions and contemplation for everyone, especially for those of us working in the senior care industry who have witnessed a variety of scenarios.  Hospice care was established to help families navigate through the details and emotions of saying goodbye to a lifetime of friends and family and.....assets.  It seems that time after time it is the assets that can cause problems for everyone for many years after someone has deceased.

Following estates and how they are divided and contested makes for fascinating reading.  The dramas can be better than the best movies and even become the material for movies.  Even when everyone thinks the estate has been firmly settled and legally structured, the heirs can bust a move to contest an issue.  Remember Lady Astor?  Her son seemingly (and a court agreed) convinced her to sign a new will after her memory loss had begun.  

Huguette Clark is the most recent heiress who has some relatives wanting more money from her estate.  A reclusive copper heiress, she collected dolls and found solace in playing with dolls as an adult and lived her last 20 years at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York.  She had no children, but her distant relatives did inherit some of her money and now they are digging for more dollars, filing documents in Manhattan Surrogate court that seem to show the hospital also begged Mrs. Clark for dollars.

In one e-mail, the CEO of Beth israel joked that a Manet painting Mrs. Clark donated the hospital did not bring as much as they would have liked at auction and joked that Mrs. Clark "didn't take the bait and offer a half dozen more."  Mrs. Clark gave the hospital more than $4 million dollars and stayed at the hospital until her death at age 104, in addition to the millions she privately paid to stay at the hospital.  She also donated another $1 million in her final, contested, will.

The fact that a hospital allowed someone who perhaps was depressed, but did not need acute medical care, to remain as a patient for 20 years raises ethical questions.  Might have there been a better environment for Mrs. Clarke to live in to address her emotional needs? The fact that the hospital did keep her for so many years and continued to ask her for donations is alarming.  The New York Times reports some of the more disturbing facts, such as the hospital sending staff out to research the Clarke family in order to better understand her wealth.  Mrs. Clarke paid the hospital $1,200 a day for her room.

Sometimes it seems, doing the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do, should take precedence.  A grown woman who watches the Smurfs cartoon and plays with dolls all day probably is not in the state of mind to make donations in the millions to a hospital and to decide she should stay indefinitely in a hospital -  it does not take a degree in medicine to know that.  It takes everyone to be a watchdog for ethics, including senior caregivers.  The Inspector General's office can be one place to report senior abuse and instances of Medicare of Medicaid fraud.  It will be interesting to see how Mrs. Clark's heirs are able to gain some restitution from Beth Israel Hospital.

However, this scenario also begs the question:  where the heck were Mrs. Clarke's heirs during the 20 years she was staying at the hospital?

Research your senior care options ahead of time and plan for the costs of senior care and rehabilitation which often takes place in a nursing home.  This way, if you happen to have an uncle who was a copper baron from Montana, you may better be prepared for how to plan.  

End of Life Care: Should We Ration It? - Join Chicago Ideas Week Discussion Tonight

End of Life Care can involve many elements and for America's seniors, the care costs are paid for by Medicare or Medicaid (very low-income seniors qualify for Medicaid which does pay for ongoing care in a nursing home while Medicare does not).  All seniors receive Medicare health insurance at age 65. 

Tonight, in Chicago, an Oxford-style debate will discuss the issue of "End of Life Care" and when this should be rationed.  Just because we can extend life, should we? And should the government pay for this? The debate will air on 220 NPR stations nationwide and include live tweets and a vote from the audience at the end of the debate.

The Baby Boomer generation has started the journey into their retirement years (both Bill Clinton and G.W. Bush are age 66 and are at the beginning of the Boomer generation age group which includes those born between the years of 1946 and 1964).

Funding Medicare and Medicaid as the senior population more than triples in the next decade is a concern along with the advancements in technology which allow people to live longer, with the aid of medications and machines.

But when should end of life care be rationed?  Just because we can extend a life, should we?  The U.S. will spend more than $2.8 trillion on health care in 2012 and Medicare costs taxpayers $590 billion (remember, everyone age 65 and above receives Medicare health insurance and as many as 1/3rd of these seniors were without health insurance prior to Medicare which also contributes to higher care costs because of the lack of preventive healthcare - - - the new healthcare law may actually help reduce Medicare costs because of this fact).

But how much is an extra month of life worth?  If health care is a scarce resource, limited by its availability and our ability to pay for it, should government step in to ration care, deciding whose life is worth saving?

Chicago Ideas Week debates End-of-Life care tonight in an interactive format.  Moderated by John Donvan of ABC News, "Should we ration end of life care?" will take place:

Tonight, October 10th

Time: 7:30 to 9:15 p.m. Eastern Time

Place:  Albert Theatre at Goodman Thaetare, 170 N. Dearborn Street, Chicago

Live Tweets:  Use Hashtag #IQ2US

NPR Stations:  220 NPR stations will air this Intelligence Squared debate + PBS Channel 13, WNET, WLIW & NJTV

Streamed on WSJ Live

Chicago Ideas Week "End of Life, Should it be Rationed?" Debate Panel:

  • Peter Singer, Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University (in support)
  • Art Kellerman, Chair in Policy Analysis at the RAND Corporation (in support)
  • Ken Connor, Ken Connor founder and Chiarman of the Center for a Just Society (argue against)
  • Sally Pipes, President and CEO of the Pacific research Institute (PRI) (argue against)

What do you think? Should End-of-Life care be rationed? How do you decide?  Who pays for it?  As all senior caregivers now, many times a prolonged ending can go on to long.  It will be interesting to hear the outcome of this Chicago Ideas Week debate tonight. Join the discussion and review the daily costs of nursing home care nationwide to understand the Medicare and Medicaid senior care costs and the financial impact and financial devastation that can also happen when extending life.



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